READING TEHILLIM (PSALMS)
Haham Eliezer Papo, Sarajevo (Ottoman Turkish Empire) 5545 / 1785
Hayyim Yosef David Azulai extolled the many benefits of reciting
Psalms in his book Yosef Tehilot. King David prayed that those who
read his Psalms would receive the same reward as if they were engaged
in the study of the laws of purity and impurity. This seems to indicate
that reading the Psalms is helpful for purifying sexual sins.
great Rabbis ruled that one who is able to engage in the study of
halakhah and pilpul (Talmudic dialectics) is wasting his time by
reciting the Psalms, nevertheless, he should still read the Book
of Psalms once a week. Public recitation of the Psalms is of more
value than private study of the laws of purity.
who is accustomed to reading the Psalms saves himself, his family
and his generation from many afflictions and brings a spirit of
blessing and goodness upon himself and others. There is an ancient
tradition among holy and pious Jews to read the entire book of Psalms
uninterrupted each day in times of crisis or suffering, or upon
embarking on a dangerous journey. If you chant the Psalms with humility,
you will witness great wonders. This is tried and tested.
of these benefits and more will accrue to a person who reads the
Psalms in the proper fashion-letter by letter, word by word, in
a happy and thankful voice imbued with humility and supplication.
If you carefully concentrate on what you are saying, you will realize
that these wondrous prayers enable you to destroy and uproot that
which is harmful to your soul.
Psalms contain great praises and prayers to the Almighty; they are
the words of the living God sung by King David with Divine inspiration.
Even though we do not understand the full depths of their meaning,
reading the Psalms bears spiritual fruits.
words should be recited slowly, without omissions or errors. Unlearned
people should read the Psalms several times a day instead of sitting
in idleness. A person should repeat the Psalms which he knows by
heart even a thousand times while sitting in his store or walking
on the road. He will be rewarded for this.
will be rewarded whether you do little or much, as long as you direct
your heart to Heaven (Berakhot 5b).
is from Haham Papo's Pele Yoetz (An Encyclopedia of Ethical
Living) which is available in all Jewish bookstores. The Pele
Yoetz was first printed in Constantinople, Turkey in 5585 /1825
CE. It was popular among both Sephardim and Ashkenazim across Europe
and Asia. The work has been printed in Hebrew, Ladino, Judeo-German,
Arabic and German.